While Forbes began its 30 Under 30 list in 2011, it has only been surveying respondents on their personal consumption habits since 2016, offering valuable insight for marketers. Here’s what we’ve garnered on their purchasing power priorities.
Each year, Forbes releases its 30 Under 30 list that recognizes 600 young professionals across 20 industries for their leadership and innovation. In January, the company surveyed 521 listmakers to learn more about what shapes their world from purchase decisions to social media.
Listmakers and nominees interviewed for the survey skewed female at 63 percent and between the ages of 26-29 (65 percent). These future leaders are educated, with 51 percent holding a bachelor’s degree, 26 percent a master’s degree and an impressive 12 percent having earned a Ph.D.
Nearly a quarter of respondents own their own homes, while 66 percent rent and seven percent live at home with their parents.
Twenty-eight percent of Forbes‘ interviewees earn between $100,000 and $199,999 per year and 39 percent have alternate sources of income. Nearly a quarter of their companies earn between $1 million and $9 million per year.
The survey found that 58 percent don’t have any personal debt, but nine percent owe more than $80,000. Unsurprisingly, then, 10 percent named “paying off my debt,” as their number one financial priority, compared to 32 percent who named “funding an entrepreneurial venture.”
This statistic aligns with their number one financial concern—20 percent are worried that they won’t have enough money to run their business. Student loans weren’t as much of a concern, however, with only four percent worried they won’t be able to pay them off.
When it comes to managing money, 94 percent of these young go-getters prefer to bank with apps or websites.
Always On The Go
These entrepreneurs may be young, but they’re busy—46 percent are employed full-time while 44 percent said they are building their company. Seven percent are multitaskers, employed full time while working on a side project. Forbes learned that 79 percent of respondents started their company in the last five years and 65 percent hold the title of founder or co-founder.
Stereotypes be damned, these young leaders don’t spend much time on Snapchat. Only 14 percent claimed to use Snapchat compared to Facebook (70 percent), Instagram (62 percent), LinkedIn (56 percent) and Twitter (41 percent). Looking at it another way, 30 percent of some of the most promising young professionals in the world don’t use Facebook at all, and half don’t bother networking on LinkedIn.
Similarly, five percent claimed not to make phone calls or send texts during the day—but that’s certainly not the norm. Half of the respondents said they send over 25 texts a day and make at least five phone calls.
The most popular content consumed on their phones is news at 29 percent, followed by short articles at 25 percent and music at 15 percent. Four percent invest the time to read long articles on their phone, but memes are more popular at nine percent.
Overall, 74 percent consume news updates and 71 percent read short articles. Social media is where 59 percent get their news, followed by websites at 47 percent. A majority still trust mainstream media outlets at 67 percent.
Ready To Save And Travel The World
Money is great, but these 30 Under 30 honorees define success in other ways, too. According to 60 percent of respondents, the greatest success metric for a brand is social impact, followed by brand recognition at 53 percent. These entrepreneurs don’t follow their dreams for recognition, at least most of them don’t—only 24 percent of respondents named media coverage as the greatest success metric for a brand.
The top three challenges facing the world today, according to these professionals, are global warming at 64 percent, followed by income inequality and fake news at 56 and 40 percent, respectively.
Thirty-eight percent say they travel frequently for work and leisure and 28 percent do so “a few times” a year. While three percent book private accommodations, 61 percent fly economy class and 36 percent in business class. When traveling for leisure, these respondents prefer to experience new cultures and experiences at 71 percent. Forbes learned that 91 percent plan on taking a vacation in the next six months.
When it comes to spending their hard-earned money, these honorees trust their peers for guidance, with 73 percent relying on reviews and 61 percent on recommendations. Price comparison isn’t as important at 40 percent, and neither is marketing at 17 percent. At eight percent, press coverage makes the lowest impact on purchasing decisions.
“[Forbes’ 30 Under 30 recipients] have different buying motivations,” Forbes CMO Tom Davis told AlistDaily. “For example, when it comes to tech—only two percent care about price, three percent care about hardware or security and four percent care about brand name. We would have assumed those three were major factors in decision-making, but it turns out, millennials really care the most about design and innovation when it comes to technology. New technology has the ability to disrupt the market, even if the name attached to them is unknown or if they’re pricey.”
The most important brand attribute by respondents is “high quality” at 86 percent, followed by value at 58 percent. Celebrity endorsements don’t impress these shoppers, with only one percent naming it as the most important brand attribute. Social responsibility, on the other hand, is deemed most important by 40 percent.
Regardless of quality, nearly half—49 percent—only buy tech when they need it, while the other half are trendsetters. A quarter of respondents say they are the first among their friends to have new tech and 22 percent buy when they first hear about the product. In the next year, 59 percent say they plan on buying tech, followed by apparel at 42 percent.
Unlike previous generations, these 30 under 30 honorees aren’t as concerned about owning property and cars. Only 25 percent said they plan on purchasing a car over the next year, and 19 percent said they plan on purchasing a home.
When asked to define the American Dream, personal happiness trumps financial stability—54 percent named a “happy, healthy family,” while 30 percent said it was to retire and live comfortably. Surprisingly based on who these respondents are, only 24 percent said that the American Dream is to own your own company.
“[For these respondents] the American Dream may not be the same dream of old,” said Davis, “but Forbes Under 30’s are focused on positive change in business and culture.”
This piece was updated to include an interview with Forbes.